You’ll never guess who’s to blame…

posted in: Ophelia Redpath | 6

Who gets blamed in your home when something goes missing? The cat? An invisible friend?

untitledIn Ophelia Redpath‘s The Lemur’s tale funny goings-on in a quayside home of a slightly eccentric naturalist keep being blamed on the family’s only child. Little does the Family Laruby know that a mischievous lemur is actually to blame.

Having escaped from the merchants who stole him in Madagascar, the lemur enjoys exploring his adopted home. He feasts in the larder and unknowingly brings dreams of exotic faraway lands to the Laruby’s lonely daughter.

Inspired, at least in part, by a a portrait painted by the author/illustrator’s grandfather, of an aristocratic family who did indeed have a pet lemur, Ophelia Redpath‘s The Lemur’s tale is an amusing and unusual take on the “it must be the kids’ fault” / blame-game genre of stories for children.

readinglemur

By starting with such a familiar situation, adding in an undeniably cute baby lemur and a host of funny details from the slightly unconventional home he’s found himself, Redpath has ensured The Lemur’s Tale has plenty of kid appeal.

The illustrations are a mixture of black and white pen drawing, alternating with richley hued paintings with echoes of Rousseau (perhaps a reading of The Lemur’s Tale could be paired with a reading of this). Mirrors in many of the scenes serve to prompt the reader to reflect on the wider and more serious issues of animal trade and the struggles wild animals make in a human environment.

After reading this book, who can blame us for wishing we too had a secret lemur living in our home? And so we made a pair, to hide in our cupboards and to come out and play at bedtime.

I printed off this line drawing of a lemur. I printed it on to card, and then cut it out so that the tail was missing.

lemurtails3

M and J then made big, soft, banded tails out of threadable pompoms and pipecleaners.

lemurtails2

Inspired by the black and white illustrations in The Lemur’s tale the girls used a range of pencils to “colour in” their lemurs. This was a gentle way of exploring various shading techniques with pencils of different hardness. They tried shading with the side of the lead (rather than the tip), smudging with their fingertips, as well as simply applying different pressure as they used the pencils.

Finally they attached their pompom tails and the lemurs were ready to wreak havoc!

lemurtails1

Whilst making our lemurs we listened to:

  • I Like To Move It from the film Madagascar 2 :-/
  • This song by a band called Tarika, actually from Madagascar.
  • The Ballad of Lisa the Lemur by Tim King.

  • Other activities which would work well with this book include:

  • Making a play teapot (a teapot plays a pivotal role in The Lemur’s Tale). I rather like this knitted teapot hat!
  • Watching live LemurCam from South Caroline Aquarium.
  • Creating an online Rousseau-esque jungle landscape.


  • Did you ever get blamed as a child for something you absolutely, definitely did not do? Or were you very good at getting away with things other people ended up being blamed for?

    Disclosure: I received a free copy of The Lemur’s Tale from the publishers. I was under no obligation to review the book and I received no payment for this review.

    6 Responses

    1. The girls’ lemurs are incredibly sweet! I might have to pinch the idea for book group. I have had a copy of this book for ages and had just put it aside but will look at it now!
      Library Mice recently posted..GUEST POST: Fleur Hitchcock talks about Dear Scarlett

    2. Hi Library Mice – yes the activity is a good one – simple but effective.
      Zoe recently posted..You’ll never guess who’s to blame…

    3. The lemur activity is adorable and so simple to do!

      Back to the blame question..in my house when something is missing it has to be my husband who gets the blame because there is no one else in the house and I certainly did not do it! LOL

    4. Loved the tails! 🙂
      gisele barcellos recently posted..ESCOLA os piores anos da minha vida -resenha

    5. What a lovely idea!

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